Appraisal: Museum vastly overpaid for land

ST. LOUIS (AP) — An appraisal of land purchased by the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis suggests the museum overpaid by about $615,000.

The museum bought the land from former Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. in 2006, paying Bosley and a business partner $875,000. The appraisal determined the land’s value to be around $260,000 at the time, and about $215,000 now.

The land also was contaminated, requiring up to $300,000 for environmental cleanup.

Robert Archibald resigned as museum president in December, though both he and Bosley denied that personal or political connections played a role in the deal.

The appraisal was commissioned last year by the Zoo-Museum District, which oversees $70 million annually spent on the St. Louis region’s tax-supported cultural institutions, including the History Museum.

“It’s clear now that there was no administrative supervision,” said Charlie Valier, an attorney and member of the Zoo-Museum District. “And the price paid for the property was grossly, grossly over what it was worth. It indicates complete negligence on the part of the trustees and employees of the History Museum that supervised the acquisition.”

The History Museum did not respond Tuesday to a request for comment from board chairman John Roberts. Roberts in the past has defended the purchase.

Bosley contested the new appraisal and defended Archibald.

“I’ve known him for an awfully long time,” Bosley said. “Archibald was one of the greatest men to come to this community. And they ran him off.

“He did more for this town than ... all of his detractors put together.”

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